The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $6.6 million for Edify Energy to build a 25MW/50MWh battery with advanced inverters in Darlington Point, expanding the existing project to a total of 150MW/300MWh.
The project will be adjacent to the 275MW Darlington Point Solar Farm, and aims to help future-proof the Darlington Point area as renewable energy generation continues to expand in south western New South Wales.
Edify’s battery will be one of the most advanced battery systems in the National Electricity Market (NEM) once built.
The project will further extend the capabilities of large-scale batteries equipped with advanced inverter technology by demonstrating that they can substitute for more traditional forms of synchronous generation and synchronous condensers.
The battery could help improve system strength in a weak part of the grid, unlocking opportunities to support more renewable energy generation.
The New South Wales Government will also provide $6.5 million in funding for the battery, as part of its $75 million Emerging Energy Program.
ARENA Acting CEO, Chris Faris, said large-scale batteries are now being seen as more than just energy storage devices for the grid.
“To support the rapid transformation of our electricity system, large-scale batteries will need to evolve to do more than just store energy,” Mr Faris said.
“They need to be equipped with advanced inverters that can provide critical grid stability services to keep the system safe and secure, especially as synchronous generators retire and renewables provide a higher share of supply.
“That’s why it’s important to support and demonstrate projects like this, where batteries with advanced inverters can help supply critical stability services to the grid.”
Advanced inverters enable grid-scale and grid-connected batteries to provide system stability services traditionally provided by synchronous generation, such as coal or gas.
Finding new ways of providing stability to the electricity system will enable the grid to operate with higher shares of variable renewable energy.
In 2021, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) published itswhite paper on advanced inverters, highlighting the critical importance of grid-scale batteries equipped with advanced inverter technology in supporting the energy transition.
Mr Faris said, “Large-scale batteries like Edify’s Darlington Point battery are not only firming our renewable energy but also strengthening the grid particularly in regional areas, where they will help to unlock more renewable uptake.
“Edify has been one of the early adopters and pioneers of large-scale batteries in Australia. Having worked together on the Gannawarra battery, we’re excited to be supporting them once again in deploying new battery technologies to strengthen the grid as we transition.”
To prove the capability of advanced inverters at scale, ARENA announced that 12 large-scale batteries have been shortlisted as part of a $100 million competitive funding round for grid-scale batteries equipped with the technology.
Since 2017, ARENA has supported eight grid scale lithium-ion batteries, including Edify’s 25MW Gannawarra battery.
ARENA has previously funded four other battery projects which seek to demonstrate advanced inverter functionality, including AGL’s Broken Hill battery, Electranet’s ESCRI battery, the Hornsdale Power Reserve expansion, and Transgrid’s Wallgrove battery.